Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

No More Pipes!

That's right! I will not buy any more pipes this year. These 2 Gamma Princes from David Enrique are the last, I swear....-T

Another Video!

Mark has his 2nd pipe rack to star in a video! Pretty cool ... and good music too. -T

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Claessen Christmas pipe!

I was fortunate to exchange a few emails w/ a prominent european pipe collector a few months ago and one bit of advice he gave me was "to get a Dirk Claessen pipe". It took a while for me to find the pipe that "spoke to me" and at the same time, to have the money to pony up for it. Finally I found it at La Compagnie Des Pipes and I couldn't be happier with the pipe or the service that Guillaume and Gilles @ La Compagnie provided. Great guys to deal with and a nice selection of hand made pipes to choose from... a fine Christmas present for me. -T

Monday, December 27, 2010

Unfinished Business

It's December 27th and time to get back to work and finish some racks and cabinets that didn't get done before Christmas along with some new orders that have come in. It's always fun to get back to it after having a couple of days off. -T

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Vollmer & Nilsson is Here!

The pipe arrived a couple of days ago and I have smoked it several times and of course love it. The one bad thing about V&N pipes is that there is no surprise. You expect their pipes to be great and when you get one ... it is. I guess that's not really bad ... Anyway, Anders and Martin may have their sights set on pipe world domination, but that's ok w/ me. -T

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Orders

We have reached our Christmas cut off. We can't promise any more racks before Christmas. We have a couple that are still available and we will be happy to ship them to you. All new custom orders will have a January ship date -T

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Der Krampus

My daughter pointed this guy out to me. I had never heard of him. Apparently he accompanies St. Nick around and gives naughty boys and girls what for. I'm assured he only comes by on St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6th), so we're safe for another year. -T

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Take on the Collectors Cabinet

Mark updated and added to his popular Elliott's Collector Cabinet. It's a great cabinet for showcasing pipes and with this version, there's a lot of storage too. And it just looks cool! -T

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stephen Downie

I've got this really nice Stephen Downie pipe for sale over at Briar Blues. Take a look. -T

Monday, December 6, 2010

Zippo Hand Warmer

My dear cousin Mark gave me a Zippo hand warmer for my birthday. All I can say is, why haven't I had one of these for years?! These things are great. I went for my regular morning walk this morning and when I left the house it was 24⁰F. Normally it's my hands that get the coldest and gloves are always in the way when smoking a pipe. Quite by accident I found that w/ the hand warmer, gloves aren't needed. In fact the hand warmer seems to work better w/o gloves on. Just slip it in your pocket and your hands stay toasty warm.
It does take a bit of a leap of faith to use this gadget. It seems a little fool hardy to fill a metal object w/ lighter fluid, light it, put it in a fabric bag and place it in your pocket. But they must have brain surgeons or rocket scientists working at Zippo, because this thing is imo an engineering marvel.
Thanks Mark and thanks Zippo! -T

Friday, December 3, 2010

For Sale

Here's a 7 pipe closed cabinet I made for a customer, but it wasn't what he had in mind. Mark is making him one that should fit the bill. That leaves this one available if anyone is looking for a Christmas present. -T

7 Pipe Closed Cabinet
12.5"T x 17"W x 8"D
Drawer interior- 2"T x 14.5"W x 5"D
$200 (Available)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cold Start

Mark texted me before sunrise this morning to take a look at the beautiful crescent moon. It was beautiful and in a crisp clear sky, but it was cold out. I'm not winterized yet. I haven't become accustomed to cold weather. It goes straight to my old bones. I loaded up the pockets of my old leather jacket with pipes and tobacco and headed over to the Wolf river for my morning walk. I wasn't sure it was a good idea, but I did it anyway. It turned out fine. It was a lovely morning and I was ready to ditch the jacket half way through the walk. The couple of pipes I took w/ me helped. -T

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gold of Denmark

MacBaren's Gold of Denmark is a blend that Mark and I both enjoy at this time of year. If you asked either of us if we liked aromatics, we would both give you a resounding "NO". But MacBaren seems to be able to make aromatics that have a great smell, taste like tobacco and don't leave a sticky residue in your pipe. And Gold of Denmark just seems like Christmas to me. For some reason, I have enjoyed it more this year than ever before. It has seemed like the perfect tobacco to smoke all day. This might end up being a 2 tin season. -T

Monday, November 29, 2010

V&N- Maybe not so cruel ... ?

I'm not sure if Martin and Anders (Vollmer & Nilsson) are in fact nice guys or if this is part of their evil plot for pipeworld domination, but after all my moaning and whining they informed me that one of the pipes that they had sent me photos of was available. It happened to be one of my favorites, so I immediately snapped it up. It's a beautiful pipe and I'm sure I will love smoking it for years to come. I can't wait to get it. But I have to wonder- maybe I'm one of those conspiracy nuts- or maybe they knew I couldn't resist ... -T

p.s. They tell me they are working on a website update, but then, in theory so are we.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vollmer & Nilsson; Cruel Friends

Be careful what you wish for ....

I recently exchanged emails and ideas with our pipe maker friends Martin Vollmer and Anders Nilsson. The object of the correspondence was a pair of pipes that I wished to commission to be picked up in May at the Chicago Pipe Show. The "pair" ended up being 3 pipes and after some discussion and some great ideas on V&N's part, I will be getting 3 amazing and exciting pipes. I can't wait. Foolishly in parting I asked my friends to send me some photos of current work whenever they had the chance. I like to see what they are working on and they are even worse at updating their website than we are. Well, I got what I asked for and I can't help imagining Anders and Martin having a good laugh, knowing that I would certainly come down with a bad case of pipe lust. The Swedish duo give the impression of being perfect gentlemen, but I think if you look closer you will find a cunning cruel streak. Here's a few of the photos they sent that are now making my life a little miserable. -T

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We will be over indulging w/ friends and family ( after watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade) and we hope you all have the opportunity to do the same. -T

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Factory is Humming!

OK- we don't have a factory or anything close, but we have been busy and that's good! Here's a couple of international orders. One to Canada and one to Merry Old England. -T

Friday, November 5, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fascinating Reading!

Great stuff over at
A Passion for Pipes. Even we old dog pipe smokers have a lot to learn.
Here's a little intro to what Neill has to say-

"This three-part series will go in my book in the chapter: On Successful Pipe Smoking. It explores a number of issues, most notably 1) How and why blends develop; 2) Matching tobaccos to pipes; 3) How chamber geometry affects tobacco flavor; 3) Why draft hole diameter is relevant to tobacco flavor; and 4) Where tobacco flavor really comes from. The three series posts are:

1) The Mystery of the transforming tobacco
2) Finding that magic fit between pipe and tobacco
3) How and why chamber geometry affects tobacco flavor

In developing this series, I used research findings I unearthed that were developed by scientists who were researching the relationship between the chemical composition of smoke and tobacco-burning temperature. The experiments and findings were initially part of a cancer research study, but their findings and methodology have much broader utility."

Take a look if you haven't already. It will make you think and maybe make you want to do a little experimenting on your own. -T

Above image from Neill Roan' article

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blue Riband Commission

Several months ago I received a phone call from friend and pipe collector Neill Roan. He was looking for a pipe rack for his growing collection of Comoy Blue Riband pipes. He felt it might be a project that I would find fun and interesting, and he was right. I spent way too long thinking about the project- to the point of Neill having doubts about my interest. Finally, I decided to jump in and do it. This seems to be my best way of operating. I finished the rack in time to bring it to Neill at the Richmond pipe show. He was kind enough to write about the rack on his Passion for Pipes site. I don't get this kind of press often- I figured I'd better milk it for all it's worth. Thanks Neill. -T

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I started smoking pipes years ago. I bought my first pipes as many of you did, from a Tinder Box in the local mall. For years I smoked cheap pipes and was happy. Then I discovered Ebay and the thrill of Olde England got the better of me. I was entranced by Dunhill, Sasieni and Barling. Unfortunately I couldn't afford the good stuff. I was only able to win the pipes that no one wanted. They were beat up or from the wrong time period. As my finances increased, or I suppose the truth of it is, that my schemes for diverting money towards pipe purchases got better, I became enamored of of the Danes and then the German pipe makers. But I have always clung to a fondness for England. Sherlock Holmes, smoking jackets and wood paneled libraries- what's not to like? And then along comes Neill Roan and his passion for Comoy Blue Ribands. Once again I felt the lure. But I didn't want to become a pipe historian. I didn't want the thrill of the chase. I'm an American. I want what I want ...NOW. At the Richmond show, I was fortunate to stumble across Jim Craig and his son. Jim has taken over the Ashton name. I had of course heard of Ashton and had even had a lovely conversation w/ Bill Taylor at the bar during the Chicago show some years ago. But Bill's pipes were just too large for me. but now, here in Richmond, was a table full of English pipes that seemed just right for me. I had a hard time deciding which to get. In the end I picked up the small bent billiard w/ silver band shown above. It's a fine little pipe and a really wonderful smoker. I think my problem has been solved. I think I am now an Ashton collector - on a small scale anyway. -T

Monday, October 11, 2010

Smokin' Holsters

I've been looking at Neil Flancbaum's pipe bags on his website - Smokin' Holsters - and every year at the Chicago Pipe Show and while I loved the bags, none of them seemed quite right for me... until a month or so ago. Neil made a bag that looked almost identical to one I had drawn and I thought it was the perfect pipe bag... but now I had decided I needed one 1/2 the size of my original ideal, so I contacted Neil to see if a 1/2 bag was possible. He said "sure", and proceeded to make me exactly what I wanted. The bag is great! It easily holds 4 pipes, 2 or 3 tobacco pouches, a couple of cigars and my small notebook I carry every where. It really is "The Perfect Bag". I can't praise it or Neil's workmanship enough. -T

Friday, October 8, 2010

What was I thinking?

OK- it's not like I don't have other things to be doing, but somehow I became just a little obsessed with making a stonewall pipe rack. My wife says it looks like a storybook rack. Maybe I could sell it with bubble pipes for kids ... sort of get them in the pipe habit. Probably not a socially acceptable idea. -T

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Back from Richmond

Mark and I made it back from Richmond a couple of days ago. We had a great time. We camped at Warriors Path State Park on the way up and at The Cedars of Lebanon on the way back. Between camping and the pipe show, it was sort of like going on two separate trips. Needless to say we did a lot of pipe (and cigar) smoking. We saw several old friends in Richmond and made several new ones. I especially enjoyed our evening with noted pipeman, author & publisher, Gary Schrier. What a warm, friendly and funny guy! It was a wonderful trip. The CORPS group puts on a great show. I recommend it to any pipester. -T

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back in the Saddle

After 2 1/2 months of waiting, I finally got my table saw back from the repair shop. It was under warranty and that's the good news. The bad news was the amazing ineptitude of ...I don't know who. The repair shop blamed the folks at Ridgid, but their excuses seemed a bit lame to me. In the end I suppose it doesn't matter. I will never buy another Ridgid tool. I have lost my faith in their products and their company.
With that said and out of the way, I can go on to say I have had a couple of fun days making pipe racks again. I didn't realize how much I missed it. As many of you know, I am a painter (the artist kind) and I love painting, but it is a pleasure to do something else from time to time. Making pipe racks and working with wood requires a different type of thinking and it is a joy to exercise that part of my brain again.
Anyway, I'm back in the saddle and if you've been waiting on a pipe rack I should have it ready soon.-T

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Richmond & CORPS

26th Annual CORPS Exposition & Celebration

1, 2, 3 October 2010 - Richmond, Virginia, the Tobacco Capital

Celebrating our 26th Pipe Smokers' Exposition and our Enjoyment of our PIPES & TOBACCOS!

Our friends, our pipes, our tobaccos - Since 1984

I just made my reservations. It looks like I will really be going to the CORPS show in Richmond this year. I have had big plans the last two years, only to have something come up and prevent me from going. I've got my fingers crossed and I think I will make it. Unfortunately, Mark will not be with me. It looks like I will be flying (figuratively) solo, unless I can do the hard sell on my buddy Chuck.
I'm looking forward to the Richmond experience. I've had more than one person tell me that while the Chicago Show is The Meca of pipe smokers, Richmond is the Soul of the pipe world. I'm not sure what that means, but I sure want to find out.
I'll be driving over and camping on the way. I can't decide between Warriors Path State Park in TN or Hungry Mother SP in Virginia. Both sound good. I still have nearly a month to decide. For now I have the fun of pouring over maps and websites for info.
More about the trip later -T

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quality Briar!

I was able to obtain a couple of new pipes this summer from Nick Miller at Quality Briar. Considering Nick is a Yankee and speaks with a funny accent, he is still a great guy to buy pipes from. He's knowledgeable and has a good eye for quality workmanship and distinctive style. He carries the work of some of the best pipe makers from all parts of the globe, including two of my personal favorites; Vollmer & Nilsson and Gregor Lobnik.
The two pipes I got are from the Swedish duo, Vollmer & Nilsson. The 1st is a very lightweight (25 g) poker. It has a small bowl that seems to bring out flavors in my constant companion, Sam Gawith's Best Brown Flake, that I have never noticed before. A true pleasure to smoke. It makes for a minor dilemma. The pipe is light and comfortable to clinch and smoke while I work, but it is such a flavorful smoke that I find myself sitting in my rocker just wanting to enjoy.
The 2nd pipe is a bent sandblast that is a great pipe for working or walking in the woods. It has a narrow but deep tobacco chamber that makes for a long uninterrupted smoke. And the weight distribution makes it easy to clinch and carry on with the task at hand.
I couldn't be more pleased with my two new pipes or the quick and friendly service Nick provided. Take a look at Nick's website and give him a call. I think you'll be pleased also. -T

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We need a rut

The past year to year and a half have been tough for the cousins. Maybe "tough" isn't totally apt. Disruptive might sum it up better. There have been births and deaths, family illness and operations, and plenty of day job work. It's made this little pipe making enterprise take a back seat. We hope that as fall arrives, maybe we can get back to a semi-normal routine. Mark and I are both eagerly anticipating our yearly camping weekend and as usual, we have already said "WE NEED TO GO CAMPING MORE THIS YEAR". I hope this year we will. I bought new hiking boots yesterday and broke them in this morning over at the Wolf River. In the past, I walked there at least five mornings a week. I need to get back in the habit. It's time to get our boring repetitve lives back. -T

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another Ready to Ship

Mark just finished this rack, which was a sort of "custom" job. It's based on the "Baker Road" with a stained finish and an extra row of pipes to hold 33 instead of the 22 on the original. He's calling it the "Baker Road Extended". Now it's on to the next order!! -T

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Damn Day Jobs

Mark is in Atlanta for the week working hard @ his day job, so he may be a bit slow answering emails. I can only imagine what kind of pipe rack empire we might be able to create if only we had the time. Sigh ... -T

Friday, July 9, 2010

Opening Tonight

If anyone is in the Memphis area tonight, please stop by David Lusk Gallery for the opening reception of my show there. You can see what I do when I'm not making pipe racks. -T

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Death of a Table Saw

I was working away yesterday, cutting wood when the surge protector tripped and my saw and fan quit working. I reset the protector and the fan started working, but not my table saw. Up until that moment, I loved this table saw. It's a portable Rigid and it does (or did) everything I need a saw to do. I bought it less than a year ago and it hasn't had a hard life. Now I have to see just how good the "Lifetime Warranty" is. -T
7/9 - Turns out "Lifetime Warranty" means Lifetime Warrany. There is a service center 2 miles from my house and they say I'll have my saw back in a week to 10 days. Pretty cool. I would have preferred it back sooner, or even better that it hadn't quit working at all, but I guess this will do.-T
7/19 Part on order- still waiting ....
8/31 Part on back order (so they say)- still waiting ....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart

I ran across this photo today and while I don't think Captain Beefheart is really a pipe smoker, I had to post it. -T

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Big Pipe Cabinet @ Home

Mark received a photo of the large cabinet he made a couple of months ago from it's new owner. It works well with the existing piece of furniture it sits on. It's always great to see our pipe racks in their home environments.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fun Job!

I recently had the opportunity to make a pipe rack for a new customer - and that's always fun, but this time it was even more fun. The customer wanted to pass some good luck on to a friend, so she sent me 34 four leaf clovers. Originally she just wanted them in the cabinet but I suggested decoupaging them to the cabinet and she thought that sounded like a good idea. I think it turned out well and it made a very nice, one of a kind, personal present. -T

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Crazy Slovenian Pipe Maker Gregor Lobnik

A couple of days ago, I received one of those cards in the mailbox saying that I had missed the postwoman's attempt to deliver a registered package. I wasn't expecting a package and my first thought was that it was some sort of legal thing and someone was sueing me. I don't know why this jumped into my brain. I've never been sued and I have no reason to think I should have any legal problems. Guilty conscience maybe? The next day I went to the post office to get whatever was waiting for me. The clerk at the counter took my card and disappeared into the back room. He came out in a couple of minutes carrying a yellow box. This was promising. Yellow boxes have always signaled stuff from Europe. He sat the box down and I could see a mint green tag on the top. The only words I could make out were "pipe" and "Slovenia". Wow! This was looking much better than a law suit. I signed for the package and rushed back home. I opened the box on the kitchen counter with my wife watching, all the while telling her "No, I haven't ordered another pipe! I can't imagine what this could be." But it was a pipe from my friend Gregor Lobnik. It turns out he has purchased sandblasting equipment and the pipe enclosed was his first attempt at blasting. He had sent me a wonderful present. I love Gregor's pipes and to have his first sandblast is an honor I am not at all worthy of, but as I told him- I'm keeping it! People in the pipe world are notoriously nice, and Gregor has to rank up there with the best. I haven't smoked the pipe yet, but if it is anything like the other Lobniks I have, I'm sure it will become one of my favorite smokes. It is already a favorite pipe being such a wonderful gift from a good friend. -T

Top pipe is mine (my bad photo) and the other 2 are some of Gregor's new sandblasted creations.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Green Gramps

One down, more to go. This one was a commission with the request that I change the color of the Gramps pipe rack to green. I think it looks pretty good in green. -T